European governments and Airbus Safran Launchers have reached a tentative agreement on Ariane 6 development funding following an incendiary letter from the company alleging a nearly $1 billion shortfall. But the two sides agree that the underlying disagreement over who pays what remains unresolved.
Eumetsat will place Meteosat-7 into a retirement orbit in April 2017 by assuring that it retains enough residual fuel to climb several hundred kilometers above the geostationary-orbit belt.
Europe’s Rosetta comet-chaser satellite has apparently survived a dangerously close flyby of Comet 67P, which it is accompanying toward the sun, despite a dazzling of its star trackers by cometary debris and a subsequent shutdown of its science instruments.
QinetiQ will supply the main computers and avionics for the two-satellite Proba-3 formation-flying mission under a contract with the European Space Agency.
A senior European Commission official said the commission is determined to have 30 Galileo navigation satellites in orbit by 2020, implicitly endorsing the expenditure of 200 million to 300 million euros to purchase four to six more spacecraft this year or next.
If European space officials are tired of playing “Simon Says” with SpaceX, they can invest the money and intellectual capital needed to lead in space, but they almost never do.
The European Commission, the European Space Agency and Airbus Defence and Space have reached agreement on funding and management of a laser data-relay system after months of wrangling.
Italy’s e-Geos Earth observation services provider said it had won a contract with the European Commission to provide emergency-service mapping imagery for the commission’s Copernicus environment monitoring program.
The debate over who should be in charge of European space is not over. The surge of new players entering the space sector and an increasing amount of private funding are changing how space is done, and ESA will feel the heat with increasing intensity over the next several years.
European space hardware builders and some individual European governments are pressuring the European Commission to revamp the way it does space research and technology as it prepares a seven-year program with the promise of 1.4 billion euros in available cash.
France’s long search for a European partner and co-investor in a next-generation optical reconnaissance satellite system has paid off with the agreement by Germany to help finance a third satellite in return for access to the full three-satellite system.
The British government has reaffirmed its support for the European Union-coordinated International Code of Conduct on Outer Space Activities but said its services would remain on the alert to stop the EU from actually negotiating any European commitment to it.
European governments spent a year grafting parts of the SpaceX rocket-manufacturing business model onto Europe’s rocket sector, and are now talking up reusable-rocket technology as a promising direction as SpaceX heads that way.
The level of mistrust and disdain between the European Space Agency and the European Commission shows no sign of subsiding despite European governments’ reaffirmation that ESA would remain an independent body.
More than one-third of the critical components embedded in European satellites, when measured by cost, are non-European, most of them provided by U.S. companies.
The European Commission is under pressure to resolve nagging money issues surrounding its two flagship space programs, the Copernicus environment-monitoring effort and its fleet of Sentinel satellites; and the Galileo positioning, navigation and timing network.